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Archive for the ‘Snips & Stitches’ Category

Aside from wallowing in my own postponed Winter blues, I have been spending the last few weeks getting accustomed to my new surroundings here at Casa de Leonard.  The Leonards were more than generous with their space, giving Scott and I not only our own bedroom, but an entire room to use as my office/workshop, and space to practice and record music in the basement.  We’ve both been blessed with a set of in-laws that are incredibly helpful and supportive, and for that I think we both are thankful.  So, after a month in sunny Florida, we arrived in Connecticut during the heart of snow-season.  Cold, dark, wet, nasty snow-season.  Yuck.

On the bright side, this should be our very last Winter (at least for a while) if everything goes to plan over the next year.  In Autumn 2010 we are planning to pull up our anchor once again and hightail it to Austin, Texas.   During our trip to China we were able to sit back and take a nice long look at our lives, a luxury one rarely gets to enjoy.  While we were looking we realized a few things:

  1. We hate Winter.  Every year during the dark cold months, Bobleo and I become fatter and more depressed. We’re done with Winter.
  2. One way or another, Bobleo is determined to make music a bigger part of his life.  So, he started practicing like a maniac, and is currently taking private lessons to take his playing to the next level.  By the time we hit Austin, a major musical hub, Bobleo hopes to be in the best musical shape of his life.
  3. We can’t afford to live in Fairfield County.  Or at least we can’t afford to live here well, or live here well while saving toward our future, or save toward our future without working 2 or more jobs each.  Another thing we realized is that we’ve missed each other, and we’re tired of working 2 or more jobs each.  We’re taking weekends off from now on.
  4. Although Connecticut is filled with friends, family, and personal history, we crave adventure.  Sometimes you can’t see what you’ve been missing until you step outside your life.  When we did, we found out just how happy getting lost, frustrated, and confused can make us.  Sometimes I count the number of exits off of 84 from here to Maine that I have been down.  As the number gets higher and higher, I feel more and more like a goldfish in a bowl.
  5. You can always go back home.  No matter how far you are, your family is your family and your friends are still your friends.  Sure, we’ll miss the people we love, but a handful of miles won’t keep us apart forever.

So, that’s why we are moving to Austin.  We’re just not done shaking our lives up yet.  Plus, Austin is full of everything that we like: music, food, movies, art, and crazy people.  Our choice became doubly lucky when we found out that two of my sisters are planning to head down there too!!  So, we won’t be entirely alone after all.

In addition to making big plans, we’ve been making music, Bobleo and I.  After years of pleading, he finally gave in and sat down to write some songs together.  They are not too shabby either, if I may say so.  The first that we wrote involved several beers, lots of yelling, and intermittent mediation by Bobleo’s father.  But after many hours of head butting, we came up with something pretty good.  The second song, (and a half – we have one that’s nearly done) went much more smoothly.  No yelling or name calling at all.  I figure it’s just another of a million things that we need to learn how to do together, so like fighting or running a household of chores, we’re getting better at it.  At this rate, we may even get an EP recorded without spilling blood.  We also learned a few covers, including: Train Song by Vashti Bunyan, Bad Things by Jace Everett, and Back to Black by Amy Winehouse.  We need to streamline our covers a little and add some more stuff that focuses us a little more, but we’re getting there.  We’re going for an alt. country kind of thing, but right now I think we’re still a little dis-jointed.

Tool of the Trade

On Sunday night we played our very first open mic together.  It was incredibly exciting.  I’m such a dork, but it really thrilled me.  I could hardly wait until we went out again last night.  To Bobleo this is cake, old hat, easy peasy, but for me it’s a leg shaking, nail biting, butterfly gutted lightning-fest.  I think we did OK.  If you’re around on a Sunday or Tuesday night anytime soon your welcome to come on down and see the side-show.  Widow Browns in Danbury on Sundays, starting after 9:30, and O’Connors in Brookfield on Tuesdays at the same time.  We’ll be doing each one religiously to get some practice under our belts as we try and complete an EP’s worth of recorded originals.  I’ll keep you updated on the status of our little project.

And finally, my crafty attention has been to creating this adorable little baby quilt for my favorite CB.  She is so very preggers, and will be delivering an amazing bundle of joy (or as I call her, CB Jr.) sometime next month! My friends, CB and Brian are going to be the funnest, cutest, most lovable parents ever, I just know it, and I can’t wait to meet tiny CB.  Anyway, the QUILT.

CB Jr.'s Baby Quilt

The Quilt was made with a Hello Betty Charm Pack by Moda, and backed with a Pink Plume Fleur de Lis print by Tula, both of which I purchased from Quilt Sandwich on Etsy.  The pre-cut squares made the patchwork a total breeze.  I don’t know if my cheating heart will ever go back to cutting quilt squares by hand.  This was too devilishly easy for me not to repeat.  I hand quilted the blanket with pink embroidery floss, and sewed a pink fuzzy bias tape on as a lining with the same floss.  The binding took FOREVER, but the perfection was well worth the extra time.  This was definitely my best quilt to date.  It had no puckering, no funky diagonal lines, no mis-sized squares or random holes.  All in all, I think it was pretty well made, especially for me.  I hope baby CB will enjoy it.

I’ve also been cooking my head off, but unfortunately I have not been good about blogging my meals since we came back to CT.  I have to find a way to take good photos in the Leonard’s kitchen, which also means stopping to plate before throwing the meal on the table, which also means not shoveling the meal into my face as soon as possible.  I so lack self discipline.  Here’s a peak at what eventually became sausage and pepper calzones earlier this week.

Chicken Sausage and Roasted Peppers Tossed With Fresh Basil

I’m having serious photography frustrations, as you may be able to surmise from the photos in this post.  The walls in my office are sky blue, which makes (I’ll give you one guess, no wait. I won’t) BLUE!!  It also has the best light in the house – which continues to tempt me into taking pictures in here, despite the blue-ness.  But then, I wind up with an irreversible blue tinge to EVERYTHING I photograph.  Must stop.  Must relocate.  What’s the definition of insanity again? Oh yes, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Right. On that note, I’ll leave you all panting and heaving for the next installment of MaryHelenOrama. G’day mate.

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Fields of Thread

Goggy's Button Box

I’ve been stitching away for the last two weeks.  Making little fabric flowers and hand stitching linings into pouches has been filling most of my time.  Meanwhile, it’s been a treat sorting through all of the vintage fabric and notions that my Mom has stashed on her shelves.  Hordes of shiny buttons, metal toothed zippers, and funky upholstery fabrics.  Be still my heart!

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So I am finally crafty again! Yes folks, after months of crafty deprivation I have returned to the land of easy. Here, in the land of easy to get materials, easy to get equipment, it is easy to please me.  Give me a nice pair of shears, a full belly, and a tub full of old fabric and I’m happy.  I’ve spent the last few weeks chopping, stitching, and scheming some use into the many tubs of fabric that has inhabited my parents’ storage space.  There are fabrics in there that date back to my childhood, others were collected by my sisters and I when we first started to sew, maybe um… around 10 or 15 years ago?

So what have I been doing armed with an arsenal of vintage fabric? With the help of my Mum, I’ve been creating some simple pouches, hats, bags, and other accessories from fairly simple patterns that I have drafted out in my latest handy dandy notebook.  Though we have plenty of prototypes kicking around the house now, the first finished items are a set of zipper pouches.  Making these simple pouches themselves was a breeze, but embellishing them was a bit challenging.  It took some brain noodling to figure out how to dress them up.  During my noodling I discovered a technique for making fabric flowers.  They come out beautifully!  But, but but… my fingers hurt.  There was a lot of stabbing involved, and my tender little fingertips have come to understand the nature of pain thanks to these pretty little flowers. Yowee.

Prairie Flowers Pouch

I’m on a “pretty” kick lately, and I’ve decided to open a small shop on Etsy to host all of the pretty things my Mom and I have been making.  When I get home I’ll relaunch Scribble Nation as well, and keep all the kooky stuff there, but for now I am in the mood for flowers, clouds, and sunshine.  You can find things that speak to that inspiration at GoraHandmade.Etsy.com.

More Pouch Porn:

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Apparently…

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I have a thing…

Whale Hoop 1

StumpLove

for hoops…

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lately…

HulaHoop

HulaHoop-1

Want to make your own hula hoop?

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